If there is one constant in our ever changing life, it is struggle. In many verses of the Quran and Hadiths of Rasulullah (SAAW), references to the state of constant struggle are mentioned when the entity of the human being is defined.

When the prophet (SAAW) spoke about the truest names to be given to an individual to describe his human essence he said: “The best of true names is Harith and Hammam.” Harith means one who is “constantly struggling” while engaging in matters of life, and Hammam means one who is “constantly struggling” full of worry and intentions.

The journey of life itself is meant to be a voyage to Allah, as Allah (SW) said: {O humankind-

[for], indeed, you are [all] laboring to your Lord, most laboriously- then you shall meet Him} 84:6. At the time of the creation of the human being, Allah (SW) revealed that he would be constantly struggling in agony and tribulation. Allah (SW) said: {Very truly, We created man in [a life of] travail} 90:4. Life was also described by God in a term of “Ibtila’” which means full of tests and trials. Allah (SW) said: {For We [but] test you [in life] with evil and good as a trial} 21:35. The constant tests and trials put the human being in a never ending struggle facing life.

Imam Ahmad (RAA) was asked: “When would a believer relax?” He replied: “When you leave the (Serat of Hell) behind your back.” This was in relation to each person having to cross Al-Serat over Hell to reach Heaven on the Day of Judgment, and that no believer will truly relax until he reaches Heaven. Once, a funeral passed by the Prophet (SAAW) so he said: “Relaxed or relaxed from.” The companions upon hearing this asked him what he meant. He (SAAW) said: “The believing servant relaxes from the burdens of life and its hardships into the mercy of God, and as for the wicked, all people, land, trees and cattle will be relaxed from him after he is gone.”

The dimensions of the constant struggles of life are diverse, but in these lines I will focus only on our constant struggle with our own selves because it is the center of dealing everything around us. One who is in a status of strong faith can face and cope with all types of hardships, while one in a weak state will be vulnerable to all types of failures in life.

In summary to what Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim spoke about dealing with the soul, he said: “It is a struggle to learn guidance and the religion of truth, without which there is no success or happiness in this life or the next. If this is missing then there is misery in realms, this life and the Hereafter. Then, struggle to act in accordance with what is learned. However, simply knowing without acting, even though it brings no harm, also brings no benefit. And after that, struggle to preach Islam, and to educate whoever was not taught it. Otherwise, he will be one of those who conceal the guidance and revelation. His knowledge did not benefit him, nor did it save him from the punishment of Allah. And finally, struggle to bear patiently the difficulties involved in calling people to Allah and the insults of people, bearing all of that for the sake of Allah.”

Then he spoke about the struggle against Satan. “Dealing with Satan brings the struggle into the ability to defend from whatever is thrown of uncertainty and doubts which undermine faith into the heart of the servant, and the struggle to defend from what is thrown into the heart of corrupt intentions and lusts.” Finally he added dealing with the enemies of Islam who wish to cause harm from outside and the hypocrites who cause harm from the inside, the constant struggles range “between the heart, tongue, wealth and self.”

I believe in such times and hardships that our Muslim community is going through, we must pay attention the most to ourselves to be able to face our constant struggles. Yes it is an individual struggle, but it reflects on the struggle of the community as a whole to survive in faith and invest in deeds that will preserve our Deen for future generations to come, isA.

By Sh. Kifah Mustapha